Tips to prevent the spread of germs in the workplace this winter

With winter approaching, the prevalence of viruses such as common colds, flu and coronavirus will increase. Poorly ventilated workplaces can be a hotspot for the spread of germs, leading to staff illness and sickness absence. In 2020 according to the Office of National Statistics Sickness Absence Report, 118.6 million working days were lost in the UK due to sickness or injury. With many of us returning to work this year, the spread of germs in the workplace could cause a headache for many employers and employees.

How do germs spread?

What can be done to prevent and control infection in the workplace?

germs on door handles
Germs can spread on common touchpoints like door handles

How do germs spread?

In order for germs to spread, there needs to be three factors:

  1. A source of infection
  2. A susceptible person to be infected
  3. Transmission from the source to the susceptible person

By removing just one of these factors, germs will be prevented from spreading and infection can be kept under control.

What conditions encourage the spread of germs?

Transmission of germs depends on the type of virus. Here, we will concentrate on airborne diseases that are most commonly transmitted from one person to another via small droplets. These infected droplets are expelled when someone who is infected coughs, sneezes, talks or laughs. The infectious droplets can travel through the air and can attach themselves to surfaces.

Stale air that is not well ventilated can encourage diseases to spread. By opening a door or window, fresh air can replace stale air that contains the virus droplets.

What are the common sources of infection?

Common sources of infection in the workplace include surfaces that are regularly touched by anyone using your building. For example, door handles, push plates and light switches are common areas for transmission.

What infection control measures can I introduce to improve ventilation and prevent the spread of germs?

There are a number of easy infection control solutions that can be implemented to reduce the risk of germs spreading. Some of the best tips to incorporate into your germ control procedures are:

  • Encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly. Install ‘wash your hands’ signs to help remind employees and members of the public to maintain good hand hygiene.
  • Encourage everyone to cough or sneeze into a handkerchief or into their elbow.
  • Regularly clean contact surfaces within the workplace.
  • Minimise the number of contact surfaces in the workplace.
  • Open windows and doors where possible to improve ventilation.
Hold open fire doors
Dorgard holds open door to stop germs spreading

How can I improve ventilation in a building with fire doors?

Fire doors, whilst a necessary part of the fire safety infrastructure in most workplaces, can be problematic when it comes to infection control. The UK Government guidance on ventilation outlines that ‘Any actions to improve ventilation should not compromise other aspects of safety and security (for example, avoid propping open fire doors)’. Using a fire door retainer such as Dorgard allows fire doors to be held open safely, improving ventilation without compromising fire safety. When the fire alarms sounds, a Dorgard Fire Door Retainer will release the fire door so that it closes, preventing the spread of fire.

What can I do to reduce the number of contact surfaces?

Door handles and door push plates are likely to be common sources of infection in most workplaces. Keeping doors open means that nobody needs to touch the push plate or door handle to gain access. This eliminates the contact surface and therefore the source of infection. Always ensure that fire doors are held open legally and safely using a fire door retainer such as Dorgard.

reduce the spread of germs
Holding fire doors open safely can reduce the spread of germs

Foot operated door openers can also be a useful way of minimising contact surfaces. These are particularly useful for toilet doors that usually need to remain shut. Foot door openers are cheap and easy to install and allow staff to open the door using their foot rather than touching a handle or push plate.

open door with foot
Foot operated door openers can reduce touch points in buildings

Act now to protect your workforce this winter

Limiting the spread of germs in the workplace throughout the winter is more important than ever following the return to work for many employees in 2021. Making these small changes in your workplace as part of your infection control policy could go a long way to reducing sickness amongst the workforce. Contact Safelincs on 0800 612 6537 or email support@safelincs.co.uk for further help and advice on controlling infection in the workplace.

Mel Saunders

Marketing Designer

Mel joined our team at the start of 2020. She creates our marketing materials and manages our social media accounts.

P50: The Eco-friendly Fire Extinguisher

Not only will the P50 Service-Free Fire Extinguisher save you money, it is also an eco-friendly choice. With a low-carbon manufacturing process, long-lasting design and fully recyclable construction, P50 Fire Extinguishers are a great option if you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint. Carbon emissions are reduced even further as there are no engineer visits required to your site.

Eco-friendly manufacturing

P50 Fire Extinguishers are energy efficient to manufacture. Unlike traditional fire extinguishers that are made of steel, P50s are made from granules of plastic. These are formed into a cylinder shape using blow moulding. This is a low-energy, clean and eco-friendly manufacturing process. It produces zero wastage as any off-cuts of plastic are turned back into granules and re-used.

P50 eco-friendly extinguishers are made in the UK at Britannia Fire’s factory in Norfolk. By buying a fire extinguisher that is manufactured in the UK, you are reducing the number of miles the product has travelled to reach your premises. This in turn, reduces your carbon footprint and contributes to lowering your environmental impact.

eco fire extinguishers
P50 Extinguishers can contribute to your green initiatives

Long-lasting design vs traditional steel extinguishers

The construction of P50 Fire Extinguishers is unlike anything else on the market. Because of the materials used and the quality of assembly, the chemicals in P50 extinguishers last 10 years without requiring a refill. This compares favourably to the usual 5 years for a traditional steel extinguisher. Not only do they last twice as long, P50 extinguishers can also be refilled by the manufacturer after 10 years for an extra 10 years of service. Meaning that one unit can last for 20 years! The unit is then recyclable at the end of its useable life.

P50 extinguishers do not suffer corrosion like many traditional extinguishers and are UV treated to withstand the long-term effects of exposure to sunlight. This makes them completely weather resistant and durable, allowing them to be used for a longer period and in harsh conditions. The P50 Extinguishers are also made with marine-grade components. They have extinguishing ingredients that are kinder to watercourses and marine wildlife.

No annual servicing miles by an external contractor

The use of P50 extinguishers further reduces carbon emissions as there is no need for a servicing contractor to travel to you site each year to service the P50s. Each unit simply requires a quick visual check by a member of staff annually. This is fully compliant with fire safety legislation in the UK and is due to the unique construction of the units.

Reduce the number of fire extinguishers

P50 Foam Fire Extinguishers give better coverage than many other foam extinguishers. They are dielectrically tested, meaning that they can be used on live electrical equipment up to 1kV from a 1m distance. It is usual to find a combination of CO2 and water or CO2 and foam extinguishers in many settings. Traditionally, CO2 extinguishers have been used to tackle electrical fires. Foam or water are used for class A (Solid combustibles like wood and paper) or class B (flammable liquids). The P50 Foam Extinguisher can be used to tackle all of these types of fire, making it an ideal substitute for the CO2 and water/foam combination.

Replace CO2 and water extinguishers with one P50 Foam Extinguisher
One P50 Foam Extinguisher can replace a water and CO2 extinguisher combination

Reducing the number of extinguishers at your premises not only reduces cost. It is also a more environmentally friendly way of operating. The environmental benefits of the P50 extinguishers are industry-leading. They can contribute towards wider business goals such as carbon footprint reduction and environmental policy. Coupled with the huge cost saving benefits, businesses and organisations do not have to choose between eco-friendly vs cost. In the case of the P50, you can have the best of both worlds.

Mel Saunders

Marketing Designer

Mel joined our team at the start of 2020. She creates our marketing materials and manages our social media accounts.

Bonfire Night: Top Safety Tips

Bonfire night can be a time for family and friends to gather and enjoy autumnal nights outside. Whatever you’re planning for 5th November this year, read our top bonfire and firework safety tips for Guy Fawkes Night.

How do you keep safe on bonfire night?

Rather than run the risk of lighting a fire or fireworks at home, attend an organized event if you can.

Wear gloves when holding sparklers
Hold sparklers away from your body and wear gloves

If you do plan to celebrate bonfire night at home, follow these top tips to stay safe

  1. Always follow the fireworks code
  2. Keep pets and young children away from bonfires and fireworks
  3. Store fireworks securely in a metal box away from anything that could ignite or cause a spark
  4. If you are using sparklers, always wear gloves, hold them at arm’s length away from others and place them in a bucket of cold water when they are finished
  5. Have a Watermist Fire Extinguisher to hand. They are non-toxic, leave no residue to clean up and can be used on wood, paper, clothing and electrical items
  6. Build bonfires away from garden sheds, fences and hedges
  7. Never use flammable liquids such as lighter fluid or petrol to start a bonfire and never light the fire in high winds
  8. Always supervise your bonfire and extinguish it using a bucket of water if it is still burning when your celebrations have finished
  9. Keep a bucket of water or hosepipe nearby
  10. Keep a burns kit or first aid kit at home in case of minor burns or injuries

What do I need for bonfire night?

We recommend the following additional safety items for bonfire night:

St John Ambulance Burn Kit
Have a St John Ambulance Burn Kit to hand on bonfire night

Can I store fireworks that I don’t use?

It is not advisable to store fireworks for any length of time at home as they are explosives and could be very dangerous. If you are intending to store fireworks, ensure they are kept dry in a metal container. Store them in a place where the temperature does not change significantly (for example not on a window sill) and away from anything that could ignite or cause sparks such as electrical items, heaters, matches or lighters. Make sure they are not stored near other combustible materials like card or wood and place them out of reach of children and pets. Always follow manufacturer guidelines for storage periods.

Safelincs and NFCC launch free Online Home Fire Safety Check resource

Safelincs are working in partnership with the National Fire Chiefs Council to launch a new Online Home Fire Safety Check (OHFSC) tool, available free of charge to all Fire Rescue Services in England.

Safelincs is pleased to announce the launch of a joint venture working in partnership with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Home Office’s Fire Kills campaign, the Online Home Fire Safety Check Tool. This innovative online assessment tool will be made available to all households across England and will enable them to complete a home assessment to help identify fire hazards in their home. The tool will also suggest changes that can be easily made to reduce the risk of a fire.

National Fire Chiefs Council and Safelincs
Representatives from National Fire Chiefs Council and Safelincs at the South West Regional Workshop, Taunton, Somerset

Safelincs donated their time and expertise to build the system and will support and provide the system free of charge to all fire and rescue services across England. This tool will complement the NFCC Person-Centred Framework.  Neil Odin, Chair of NFCC’s Prevention Committee and NFCC’s Prevention Programme Executive, said, “We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from FRSs who attended the conference, with many having already signed up to the on-boarding process.” He went on to say “In the long-term NFCC would like to see all FRSs adopt the new Online Home Fire Safety Check and use as an integral part of their prevention activities. This, we hope, will provide a consistent approach to identifying and logging issues related to home safety prevention activities, and assist with centrally capturing valuable data which will be made available for all FRSs to use and plan future prevention strategies.”

Online Home Fire Safety Check
The Online Home Fire Safety Check Tool is available to all households in England

Safelincs have a passion for sharing free fire safety information with the public and working collaboratively with Fire Kills and NFCC to develop this online tool gives us great satisfaction. Harry Dewick-Eisele, MD Safelincs said ‘This co-operation has created a fire safety tool that makes a huge difference to people. It is easy to use and delivers well-tailored advice’

Complete the online home fire safety check for your home to see if you could improve your fire safety.

Angie Dewick-Eisele

HR & Marketing Manager

Angie has been our marketing manager since joining in 2002. She also has a keen interest in H&S issues.

New Free Fire Extinguisher Guide!

Our new free fire extinguisher guide is a useful resource for anyone involved in purchasing fire safety equipment. Providing a complete overview to different types of fire extinguisher, this complete fire extinguisher guide answers our most frequently asked questions.

Ideal for fire wardens and anyone involved in purchasing fire safety equipment for businesses or organisations, it offers a complete introduction to fire extinguishers. It is also a useful reference tool for anyone starting out in the fire safety industry, such as fire extinguisher technicians.

Fire Extinguisher guide
New Guide to Fire Extinguishers

An introduction to fire extinguisher types

Download this printable resource for a complete overview on fire extinguisher types and uses, including:

  • Fire extinguisher classes
  • Which fire extinguisher to use on which fire
  • Fire extinguishers for electrical fires
  • How does a fire extinguisher work?
  • Where should a fire extinguisher be located?
  • How many extinguishers are needed
  • Fire extinguisher ratings

Up to date advice on dealing with lithium-ion battery fires plus innovative new technologies like P50 Service-free Fire Extinguishers make this comprehensive guide a great new tool for businesses and organisations.

Mel Saunders

Marketing Designer

Mel joined our team at the start of 2020. She creates our marketing materials and manages our social media accounts.

Reasonable adjustments and fire safety in education

According to the Equality Act 2010, schools and educational premises have a duty to make reasonable adjustments where necessary for anyone with a disability. So, what is a reasonable adjustment? And, what can schools and universities do to improve access for all and meet fire safety requirements in education?

What is a reasonable adjustment?

The Equality Act 2010 tackles disability discrimination in schools and other organisations or businesses across society. It sets out a responsibility to remove barriers experienced by someone who has a disability. Anyone who has a disability should be able to receive the same service as far as possible as someone who is not disabled. What is considered a ‘reasonable’ adjustment will depend on things like the size of the organisation, and the money and resources available. It will also depend on the needs of the individuals who attend the setting.

Reasonable adjustments and fire safety in education

According to current fire safety regulations, it is the duty of the Responsible Person for the building to provide a fire safety risk assessment that considers the needs of all of its users. It should contain an emergency evacuation plan for all people likely to be on the educational premises. This includes anyone who is disabled or has additional needs. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) also supports these regulations.

Evacuation chairs are a reasonable adjustment
An EVAC+CHAIR can be used to safely evacuate anyone with a permanent or temporary mobility impairment in an emergency

The adjustments you need to make to meet legal requirements for disability and fire safety will depend on what is set out in your fire risk assessment. It will also depend on the needs of the individuals who attend your school or university.

What examples are there of reasonable adjustments in schools or higher education establishments for fire safety?

A reasonable adjustment can be:

  • A change to the way things are done such as a change to a rule or policy. For example, this might involve a change to an escape route.
  • A change to a physical or architectural feature in a building or outside areas. This could include using a fire door retainer on internal fire doors to allow easier access for all or installing visual fire alarm beacons with louder audible sirens for anyone who has a hearing impairment.
  • Provision of extra services or aids. This could include providing an evacuation aid such as an evacuation chair.

The type of changes and extra aids or services will depend entirely on your circumstances and the needs of the individuals who attend your school or university. Fire safety requirements will be set out in detail in your fire risk assessment and should be implemented.

Fire door retainers and the Equality Act 2010

Fire door retainers such as Dorgard are a cost-effective and easy to install solution for improving access for all in schools and universities. Fire doors are a necessity in many buildings but can be a barrier to anyone with a mobility impairment as they are heavy to operate and difficult to manoeuvre in a wheelchair.

fire doors in education
Fire door retainers can improve access for anyone with a mobility impairment

Dorgard is certified and tested to British Standards EN1155:1997 and EN 1634. It is a legal solution for holding open fire doors. This allows easier access for everyone including any disabled users with a mobility impairment. When the fire alarm sounds in your building, Dorgard will release the fire door so that it closes and provides the usual protection. You should never wedge or prop open fire doors using an uncertified device or object. The fire doors will be unable to provide any protection if they are open when a fire starts.

Fire door retainers can be a reasonable adjustment
Dorgard Fire Door Retainers are widely used in education

The University of London’s College Hall has found Dorgard to be an effective solution to accessibility in their building.

“The Dorgard offers a low energy automatic door solution that proved to be the most cost-effective way of improving access and independence for wheelchair users.”

University of London’s College Hall

Mel Saunders

Marketing Designer

Mel joined our team at the start of 2020. She creates our marketing materials and manages our social media accounts.

The Importance of Defibrillators at Sports Clubs, Facilities and Gyms

With only a small percentage of sports clubs and gyms having a defibrillator on site, is it an important addition to your sports facility’s first aid provision? We look at the risk posed by cardiac arrest and the life saving potential of defibrillators at sports clubs, gyms or sports centres.

Cardiac arrest at the gym
Having a defibrillator at your local gym could save a life

Why are defibrillators important for sporting clubs or gyms?

Let’s look at the facts:

  • Research shows that over 90% of sudden cardiac arrests in young athletes happen either during or immediately after exercise.
  • The average age of people suffering from a cardiac arrest is between 35 and 44. But, some younger sportspeople may have an undiagnosed heart condition.
  • Apart from injuries that are directly related to the sport being played, cardiac arrest is the most common cause of death in young sports people.

Having an AED close at hand can make all the difference. Research shows that using an AED within 3 to 5 minutes of a cardiac arrest can mean survival rates are as high as 50-70%. Many lives have been saved during sporting activities by having an AED present at the time of cardiac arrest. Parkrun’s collection of stories from cardiac arrest victims highlights the importance of having an AED close by.

Young athlete cardiac arrest
Undiagnosed heart conditions can lead to cardiac arrest in young athletes

Is it a legal requirement for sports clubs or sports centres to have a defibrillator?

Whilst it is not currently a legal requirement in the UK for sports facilities to provide an AED, it is a valuable addition to the wellbeing and protection of sports players, club members and the local community.

Choosing a defibrillator for sports clubs and gyms

Anyone can use an automatic defibrillator – no training is required. They automatically deliver the shock to the heart. It is not possible to make matters worse if they are not used correctly.

Some defibrillators like the Heartsine 360P give better protection from water which may be a consideration if they are likely to be used outside. Look out for the AEDs IP rating which shows the level of protection from dust and water.

Heartsine 360P defibrillator for sports clubs and events
Heatsine 360P Fully Automatic Defibrillator with protective carry case

Consider the location for your AED. It should be easy to find in an emergency so it can be accessed as quickly as possible. The location will also determine whether you need to purchase an external defibrillator cabinet or an internal defibrillator cabinet. If you are locating the AED outside or somewhere like a football clubhouse where the temperature may drop below 8⁰C, then an external storage cabinet is required. These cabinets have integral heating to ensure the defibrillator stays at the optimum temperature.  Because of the heating element, outdoor cabinets need to be installed by an electrician. Internal cabinets are simpler to install, just requiring screwing or bolting into the wall.

For events like Parkrun, marathons or large tournaments, an AED with a portable protective carry case is likely to be a good option. Many defibrillators come with carry cases, but they can also be purchased separately.

Maintaining your defibrillator

Community clubs, sports centres and gyms may be concerned about providing a defibrillator because of the maintenance requirements. Defibrillators self-test on a regular basis. They will flag up any issues, so maintenance of a defibrillator is not as daunting as it may first appear. One of the main things to look out for is expiry dates for pads and batteries.

Set up a regular visual inspection procedure and designate member(s) to carry it out. Use our free defibrillator maintenance checklist to monitor and record inspections.

Any AED will require replacement pads and batteries as these have an expiry date which varies depending on the manufacturer. Some AEDS such as Zoll AED 3 have a 5 year pad and battery life plus if you purchase a defibrillator from Safelincs, you can receive free replacement pads

For complete peace of mind or if there is no one to carry out a visual inspection at your sports facility, we can organise a defibrillator inspection from one of our trained engineers as often as you like.

Defibrillator cost vs benefit

Although the initial outlay for a defibrillator can seem like a lot for a community organisation or sports facility, the potential for being able to offer life-saving treatment makes it a worthy investment. Defibrillators have relatively low maintenance costs and no requirement for training (for a fully automatic defibrillator). So, after the initial installation, AEDs can provide a service to the members and community without having high-cost implications. An important and worthwhile investment!

Mel Saunders

Marketing Designer

Mel joined our team at the start of 2020. She creates our marketing materials and manages our social media accounts.

10 Things You Should Know About Fire Doors

Your Fire Door Questions Answered

Most of us will come into contact with fire doors in our daily life, either at home, at work or in public buildings. But how much do you know about fire doors and their role in saving lives? We’ve compiled a list of key fire door questions based on what customers ask our experts in our fire safety forum.

Fire doors stop fire and smoke from spreading to other parts of the building

1. Why are fire doors so important?

Fire doors are important because they keep fire or smoke in the room or ‘compartment’ in which it started. They stop it from spreading to other areas of the building. Fire doors are an integral part of any building’s passive fire protection system.

2. What do fire doors do?

Fire doors save lives and prevent further damage to the building and its contents:

  • They contain the fire in the room in which it started
  • Fire doors keep escape routes, such as corridors, clear from fire, giving occupants of the building longer to escape and better access for the fire service
  • They protect the remainder of the building, its contents and other buildings nearby from further damage.

3. How do fire doors work?

Fire doors prevent the spread of fire for a specified time. They are constructed from materials that will withstand fire for either 30 minutes or 60 minutes, depending on the fire door rating. Fire doors are fitted with intumescent strips in a groove on every edge of the door or fire door frame. When a fire breaks out, the heat causes the intumescent strips to expand to fill the gap between the fire door and the frame. This seals the room and stops the spread of fire for a given time. A fire door will only work if it is closed when the fire breaks out, so you should always ensure that your fire door is fitted with an automatic door closer and a sign that identifies the door as a fire door.

Key facts about fire doors

4. How are fire doors made?

Fire doors are usually thicker than a standard door and most have a solid core of variable material. The construction of fire doors varies depending on the manufacture. But, the critical part is that it is tested and certified to withstand fire for at least 30 minutes. Manufacturers must have the design of their fire doors and frames tested together as a set at an approved fire door testing centre. Then they must be considered for certification. When certification is approved, every fire door set constructed to the same design specifications by that manufacturer will be fixed with a label. The label identifies the manufacturer, date of manufacture and fire rating. This label can usually be found on the top edge of the door.

fire door certification labelfire door cross section detail

5. How long do fire doors last?

Fire doors and their frames are usually tested to hold back fire for 30 minutes (FD30) or 60 minutes (FD60). Their ability to withstand fire is dependent on them being properly installed with the correct seals and fire rated hardware including fire door closers. The condition of a fire door, especially one that’s in regular use could deteriorate over time. Check your fire doors regularly and ensure any fire door maintenance is attended to promptly. Fire door inspections can help to identify non-compliant fire doors. Fire doors can have a rating greater than 60 minutes but these are not required in most situations.

6. Are fire doors a legal requirement?

Fire doors are a legal requirement in all non-domestic properties, such as businesses, commercial premises, and public buildings. They are also required in residential flats and houses of multiple occupancy. As set out by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, building operators in England and Wales should appoint a ‘Responsible Person’ to manage their fire safety precautions. Their legal responsibilities include a duty to reduce the risk of fire spreading within the premises. Fire doors play an important part in reducing this risk in many buildings. These types of buildings should have a fire risk assessment carried out. Fire risk assessments are an in-depth review of the premises. They will highlight any fire risks with recommendations to reduce or eliminate these risks, including where fire doors should be used and what rating they should be.

Fire doors in schools

7. Do I need fire doors in my house or flat?

Fire rated doors can be a great way to add extra protection against fire in your home. But are they a legal requirement?

Houses and bungalows: In many homes in the UK fire doors are not a legal requirement, however there are some exceptions. Building regulations details where fire doors should be used:

  • Any new build or home renovation that has three or more floors must have fire doors fitted to every habitable room that leads from a stairwell. This applies to loft conversions where an extra floor has been added to a two-storey home.
  • Any door leading from your home into an integral garage must be a fire door. In most domestic situations, FD30 (fire doors with a 30 minute fire rating) are sufficient.

Flats and HMOs: Your block of flats should have had a fire risk assessment carried out. This will detail which doors are required to be fire doors. Building regulations Approved Document B2 sets out the following standards:

  • Every flat within a block of flats or HMO should have a fire door fitted at the entrance onto the communal area.
  • Flats located on floors 4.5m above ground level must have a fire rated door fitted between all habitable rooms as well as the front door.
  • Ground floor flats do not usually need internal fire doors as long as each room has an accessible way to escape. They do still need a fire door to be fitted at the entrance if the front door opens onto a communal area such as a corridor.

FD30 fire doors (30 minute fire door rating) should be used for flats.

fire door in flat or house

8. Can fire doors be painted?

Although fire doors must be fitted with fire rated hinges, locks and hardware, they do not need a special type of paint. You can paint fire doors using regular decorative paint or varnish without damaging their performance. Avoid using heat or chemical paint strippers if the intumescent seals are in place. Also avoid painting over any hinges, hardware or seals.

There is no need to compromise on style and decoration with fire doors. Choose from a wide range of glazing and finishing options including real wood veneer, Formica laminate or paint. Our fire doors can even be pre-painted in any RAL colour of your choice, saving time and hassle and giving a professional finish.

Fire door finishesFire door wood veneer

9. Can fire doors be left open?

Fire doors can only be left open if they are held open in a legal way, such as with a fire door retainer or a hold open free-swing door closer.

It is dangerous to ‘prop’ or ‘wedge’ open fire doors. Fire doors are fitted with self-closing devices so that if a fire breaks out, they close and will perform as intended. If a fire door is wedged open, it will not slow or stop the spread of fire. Using a fire door retainer or free-swing door closer will ensure that in the event of a fire the fire door will still automatically close, ensuring fire safety is maintained.

Fire doors can be heavy and cumbersome to operate. They can also cause accessibility issues in some buildings. Fire door retainers, like Dorgard, are a practical and legal solution to this issue. A Dorgard Fire Door Retainer can easily be fitted to an existing fire door and will hold the fire door open legally until it ‘hears’ the sound of your fire alarm. When the alarm sounds, Dorgard will release the fire door, allowing it to close, stopping the spread of fire. Fire door retainers can also help to improve ventilation.

Dorgard Fire Door Retainers
Dorgard Fire Door Retainers
  • Hold fire doors open legally
  • Wire-free plunger based door holder
  • Certified to BS EN 1155:1997 & BS EN 1634
  • Acoustically triggered at 65dB
  • FREE extended 5 year warranty
  • FREE shipping
£86.49 ex VAT
£103.79 inc VAT
Buy Now

10. Who can fit fire doors?

Fire doors must be fitted by a competent individual. You should ensure that the person fitting your fire doors has had the relevant training to do so. Whatever the rating of a fire door, if it is badly fitted, it may not withstand a fire for any more than 5 minutes. There are legal requirements and specifications as set out by building regulations governing the installation of fire doors. The gap between the fire door and frame, for example, should be between 2 and 4mm. These specifications can be difficult to meet unless installation is by someone with experience and joinery skills.

The regulations around the fitting of fire doors can be confusing. Code of Practice for Fire Door Assemblies does not specify that any particular certification is required to install a fire door. However, The Fire Safety Order states that they should be installed by a competent person. That is someone with sufficient training and experience, qualifications, and knowledge.

Using a professional fire door installer will give a Responsible Person or homeowner peace of mind that the fitting has been carried out correctly and that the fire door will perform as it should in the event of a fire.

Fire Door Installation
Fire Door Installation

For any fire doors purchased from Safelincs, we can offer a certified installation service carried out be qualified fire door installers. Fire doors should be installed correctly to ensure proper compartmentation.

  • Nationwide service carried out by certified fire door installers
  • Installation for all fire door sets purchased from Safelincs
  • Complete fire door and frame installation
  • Experienced and knowledgeable installers
£349.00 ex VAT
£418.80 inc VAT
Buy Now

Ask a Question

Still have fire door questions? Ask an expert on our forum.

Mel Saunders

Marketing Designer

Mel joined our team at the start of 2020. She creates our marketing materials and manages our social media accounts.

Help us raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK!

Buy selected products from Safelincs and help to raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK. We are pleased to announce that for a limited time, we will be donating £1 for every selected item sold.

Help us raise vital funds for Alzheimer's Research UK!
Buy selected items from Safelincs to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Harry Dewick-Eisele, MD from Safelincs hopes that in addition to fundraising, home safety issues faced by people living with dementia will be highlighted “Safelincs aims to raise awareness of what can be done to support anyone living with symptoms of dementia to stay safe at home, particularly with regard to fire risks and carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Our new article 'Home Safety for People with Dementia' provides top home safety tips. We hope this will help families, friends or carers to protect people living with dementia as far as possible so that they can live safely at home.

The symptoms of dementia such as memory loss and confusion can mean that the risk of a fire occurring is greater. The likelihood of being affected by carbon monoxide poisoning from everyday appliances could also be increased. We hope to encourage everyone to support our fundraising by purchasing one of our selected smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms or other safety products either for themselves or for other vulnerable friends or family who may be more at risk.

Naomi Walters, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK said “There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and the condition has a devastating effect on hundreds of thousands of families. Alzheimer’s and the other forms of dementia are now one of society’s biggest medical challenges, but with research they can be overcome.

“We can’t thank Safelincs and their customers enough for raising vital funds for dementia research and helping us in our mission to make life-changing research breakthroughs possible for people with dementia.”

Help us to raise much needed funds that will support Alzheimer’s Research UK to continue to conduct vital research! They hope that their work into the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment mean future generations can be free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.

Buy one of our selected home safety items now to raise funds!

Mel Saunders

Marketing Designer

Mel joined our team at the start of 2020. She creates our marketing materials and manages our social media accounts.

Fire Exits: 10 Things Businesses Should Know

Fire Exit Regulations

Here’s a list of things you need to know about fire exits based on questions raised by customers and answered by fire safety professionals in our fire safety forum.

In this article we refer to FINAL fire exits when we mention fire exits or fire exit doors.

1. Is any door leading to the outside potentially a fire exit, including your normal entrance?

Not all doors leading to the outside can be used as a fire exit, sliding or revolving doors must not be used for exits specifically intended to be used as fire exits. Doors leading to enclosed courtyards might also not be suitable as fire exits.

In the event of a fire it must be possible for staff and visitors to evacuate your premises as quickly and as safely as possible. This is often through the door by which your staff or the public entered. However, additional fire exits will often be installed to reduce the escape distance or to provide an alternative exit in case the main entry/exit is blocked by fire.

2. Can final fire exit doors be left open?

Security may be a separate issue, but it is completely acceptable to have final fire exit doors standing open. The only time that this should not happen is if the final fire escape door is also acting as a fire-resistant door – although this would be very rare. The issue of fire exit doors left standing open is getting regularly confused with the issue of internal fire doors which must only be held open with a fire door retainer  and have a door closer fitted.

3. Must fire exits be easily opened from inside the building?

Fire exit doors must not be locked or fastened in a way that prevents them from being easily and immediately opened from the inside in an emergency. There are a variety of ways to secure fire exit doors in this way:

Panic bars

Also called push bars or crash bars, these are used where large numbers of people are attempting to travel at speed through a fire exit, as minimal pressure on the bar releases the locking mechanism.

Exidor 294 Panic Bar with Bolt
Exidor 294 Panic Bar with Bolt
  • Single door panic bar with vertical bolt (two point locking)
  • Non-handed - suitable for left and right-handed doors
  • Suitable for final exit doors in private and public buildings
  • Manufactured in the UK with a 10 year warranty
£55.39 ex VAT
£66.47 inc VAT
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Emergency push pads

Emergency push pads are similar to push bars but feature a small pad as opposed to a horizontal bar. They should only be used where a panic situation is unlikely to arise in an emergency evacuation scenario e.g. when only staff familiar with the building and not members of the general public are using the exit.

Briton 372 Single Door Emergency Pad with Bolt
Briton 372 Single Door Emergency Pad with Bolt
  • Fire exit push pad with vertical bolt
  • Suitable for left and right-handed doors
  • Suitable for non-public use buildings
  • 5 year manufacturer's warranty
£79.49 ex VAT
£95.39 inc VAT
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Redlam panic bolt

This is designed for emergency doors which are not in normal everyday use and should only be opened for maintenance and testing. The bolt is NOT suitable for public areas.

Panic Bolt MK2 - Redlam
Panic Bolt MK2 - Redlam
  • Secures a final fire exit door from unauthorised use
  • When the Ceramtube is broken the panic bolt slides back and unlocks the door
  • Suitable for emergency exit hardware for commercial buildings
  • Does not jeopardise escape in the event of emergency
  • Please note: NOT suitable for public area installations
£55.99 ex VAT
£67.19 inc VAT
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Kingpin emergency bolt

This is similar to the Redlam bolt; when the handle is pulled, the Kingpin breaks into two pieces, allowing the spring-loaded bolt to retract and thus release the door. The door can, at all times, be used for non-emergency purposes by a key holder. Again, this bolt is not suitable for areas used by the general public.

Emergency Bolt - Kingpin
Emergency Bolt - Kingpin
  • The door can still be used in a non-emergency by the key holder
  • Pulling the handle releases the bolt for emergency escape
  • Secures single fire exit doors
  • Options for internal and external doors
£74.99 ex VAT
£89.99 inc VAT
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Maglock

Short for magnetic lock, this holds the door shut using an electromagnetic force between a magnet and a steel plate. Typically maglocks can have a keypad for access from outside and a green quick release button inside for use in an emergency. These systems can be wired into alarm systems that automatically release if the fire alarm system activates or the power supply fails.

Access Control Maglock Proximity Kit with Switch and Call Point
Access Control Maglock Proximity Kit with Switch and Call Point
  • Door is secured with an electromagnetic lock
  • Building access is controlled through a proximity reader
  • Suitable for outward opening single doors
  • Includes an exit button and emergency manual call point
£238.79 ex VAT
£286.55 inc VAT
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4. Should fire exit doors always be unlocked whilst a building is in use?

Fire exit doors must not be locked with a key or padlock whilst a building is in use. However, when a building is unoccupied it can be locked as securely as required. If drastic security measures like chains, padlocks or steel bars are required, the first person entering the building in the morning must remove all of these.

It is generally recommended to create a wall mounted board containing the shapes of the security devices used (e.g. padlock) on which each item can be hung. This acts as a visual aid to stop staff forgetting that doors are still locked.

Forgetting to unlock security devices could lead to severe prosecution. We would therefore recommend to only use proper panic bars, etc. These can offer excellent security and allow safe escape in case of an emergency.

5. Can fire exit doors be any colour?

Yes, fire exit doors can be any colour. The important thing is that the exit doors are clearly signed.

6. Should fire exit doors open in the direction of escape?

Yes, fire exit doors should open in the direction of escape. However, in the workplace it may be permissible to have an exit door opening inwards if it is providing excess for less than 60 staff without public access.

7. Does the number of people using a building increase the number of fire exits that are required?

Yes, the more people that use a building will affect the number of fire exits required. The width of the fire exit is also influenced by this. For example, the minimum width of a fire escape catering for up to 60 people is 750mm. For full details of width requirements and the number of exits required, please see the Building Regulations section of the UK Government’s Planning Portal. See also our fire exit help and information page.

8. Must emergency routes and fire exits be indicated by signs?

Fire exit routes need to be marked clearly with emergency exit signs and have to be sufficiently lit, even when the electric power supply has failed. Therefore, emergency routes and fire exits usually require emergency lighting of adequate intensity. Final fire exits can be illuminated themselves or externally lit by an emergency light.

Fire Exit Signs from JALITE
Fire Exit Signs from JALITE
  • Rigid plastic for wall mounting
  • Photoluminescent (glow-in-the-dark)
  • Available in 3 different sizes
£5.19 ex VAT
£6.23 inc VAT
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9. Must emergency routes and fire exits be kept clear of obstruction?

Final fire exit doors should never be blocked from the inside or outside. Equally, the internal escape routes must not be blocked. Combustible items that could catch alight can act as a fuel source for a fire and could increase the spread of a fire. These items should not be kept on corridors, stairways or circulation spaces. Such items include portable heaters (bottled gas or electric radiant heaters) and gas cylinders.

10. If the fire exit leads onto a road or car park, is a “No Parking” sign required?

It is important that the exit route is kept clear at all times. A ‘No Parking’ sign may be needed to prevent cars from parking directly in front of the final fire exit door. Additionally, a barrier could also be put in place.

More Information

View our related help guides for more information on fire exits and doors.

Angie Dewick-Eisele

HR & Marketing Manager

Angie has been our marketing manager since joining in 2002. She also has a keen interest in H&S issues.